Special you-will-never-get-a-Spring-break-edition "Sic Tyrannis Bastardus Eternus"
Welcome, students and faculty, to the 2008 Spring Semester. We have had some new arrivals this quarter, and a whole bunch of deaths dropouts, so it's up to the lot of you that are left to follow my instructions to the letter.
That way, you might live until graduation, when you can proudly recieve your green silk sash and go out to judge the entire world.
Speaking of which, we come to the point of this letter; I see that there has been some discussion amongst unaffiliated Laurels (and their ridiculously spoiled apprentices) about proper judging practices at SCA events. Some people have complained that the Laurels are not doing their job, and are either not saying anything at all, or are too harsh.
This whining cannot be allowed to continue.
Why no-one thought to ask me for my opinion, I will never know, but now that I have your attention, here's how it's going to go down:
1. Competitions exist so that SCAdians can find out how pathetically lacking their knowledge and/or skills are. If the judging forms do not leave them a shattered, weeping wreck, then the Laurels have clearly not done their job. All Laurels that give a score of anything over a 1 (or a 2 in exceptional circumstances, which never happens) in any category on the Judging Forms will henceforth be on the Dean's Dishonour List. Repeated offences can result in beatings, exposure to Sewer Apprentices, and possible banishment (from the Academy).
2. "Judge's Discretion" points on any judging form are a pathetic joke - as if anyone in the SCA could even come close to earning any extra points on their entries! Just draw a line through that section (or order your handy "DENIED" stamp from the Academy Store - now with extra-intimidating red ink!) (currently out of stock). Any Laurel caught giving extra points in this section will be summarily demoted to judging children's entries only for a full year.
3. Commentary shall be limited solely to what is wrong with the piece (and how the Laurel judging could do so much better). Your goal is to find at least ten things wrong with every entry, and go into detail about their flaws. If you are really stuck for ten separate things, then you may add in personal attacks on the entrant (i.e., "Your costuming makes me want to puke and laugh at the same time, and my apprentices have to do the Heimlich maneuver on me whenever you are in the same room as me, because I am choking on my own vomit at the sight of you").
- 3a. Novice entries require delineation of fifteen separate flaws, because they're new, so what could they possibly get right?
- 3b. Ditto for children. In addition, particularly offensive children's entries (i.e., all of them) will be used as bonfire material for roasting marshmallows and misbehaving Sewer Apprentices.
1. "Artisan" "displays" should also know the full force of your judging wrath - they may not be competing, but they sure as hell need your help (you owe it to them - as a Laurel - to let them know how much they suck). Take the time to fill out their comment book - completely. Leave no page unfilled in your quest to make sure they know as much as possible about what you think of their tragically flawed piece, and how you think it could be made better (i.e., "shred it", "burn it", "feed it to crazed weasels", or, in the case of fiber arts, "turn it into a cat toy for kittens on crack, because no-one in their right mind would ever want to wear this rubbish"). Remember, they asked for feedback - give it to them. Give it to them hard.
- 1a. Spare books are available at the Academy Judge's sign-in table for "craftspeople" who do not have a comment book set out. Feel free to take as many as you can fill out completely, but don't be greedy - other Laurels need those books, too! Any unfilled books may be returned at the end of the day for partial demerit.
3. Field Judging
1. Free range judging can be done anywhere - the assumption from our viewpoint is that if they're wearing/using it, they're asking for it. Don't wait for someone to request a critique - SCAdians are often too shy and awed by the Laurel magnificence to ask for help. Be a real mentor and just walk right up and let them have it.
- 1a. Stripping the SCAdian down to their underwear is sometimes neccessary to assess their costuming skills. If you need to do this, make sure you do it in a public and well-ventilated area, in case of body odors that might offend your delicate sensibilities.
- 1b. If the SCAdian is not huddled sobbing on the floor by the time you are done with your assessment of their skills, you have not impressed on them the importance of your advice. Try to find a few more things to criticize.
Remember: You are a Teacher. Teach the little bastards who's boss.
Have a good semester, everyone!
The Dean The Attack Laurel Academy - Making people cry so you don't have to
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.